Feeds

What the Hell is… a tapeout?

Intel explains its inside plans

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Reducing security risks from open source software

We thought it was probably worth writing one of our irregular series about the chip companies' term "to tape out" because we received loads of letters from our many readers asking what the hell it meant. Some of them were very worried about a new verb being formed with the word tape inside, and they weren't thinking about earthworms, or any other members of the very large worm family. Five years ago, we found ourselves in Richardson, Texas, where then CEO Jerry Rodgers of Cyrix (an ex-TI guy) was at pains to tell us what the verb "to tape out" meant. His facility was small, at that time. Said Rodgers: "Look, you have this heap of chip designers working with software algorithms and when they feel it's right they can deliver this tape to the factory." (He didn't exactly say that, but that was the very tall Texan's meaning). The tape is actually a tape. It is a way the architects and designers deliver something to the famous fabs of semiconductor companies that can start in manufacturing. Today, Intel delivered its reasoning on the famous "tape out" verb, follow news it had taped out the infamous Merced IA64 processor, albeit a few weeks late. Said Intel: "Tapeout signals the completion of the initial processor design. Tapeout is a sequence of multiple steps. It indicates when the database that contains the design information is sent to begin the preparation of masks. Masks can be thought of as a template that is used in the semiconductor manufacturing process. Previous the database was a paper tape, which today has been replaced by an electronic carrier." We suppose then, that Intel has gone Internet wise on the Merced tape out. AMD could not be reached for comment because the insider told us at press time: "We are still double checking the financial figures". The figures will be out at 21:30PM UK time, tonight... ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Bose says today IS F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.